Obedience is Just Another Word for Trust

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I see myself in Moses, and in Gideon, arguing with God. “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh?,” asks Moses. “How shall I save Israel? My family is the poorest, and I am the least,” said Gideon. And to both God says, “I will certainly be with thee.” After that argument-ending statement by God they both still argue. “They won’t listen to me. I’m not a good speaker.” “Oh, Lord, give me a sign.” God replies to Moses: “Who made man’s mouth? I will be with your mouth and teach you what to say.” To Gideon He gives signs. And still they struggle with the apparent, the seen, the contradiction of a weak humanity that is told to go and do great things.

Even more familiar, yet strange, is to see Deity make concessions to their weakness and arguing.

Their faith-struggle came from being beaten down, from having their natural faith in themselves put to death. Murder brought the proud Moses, raised in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, to the backside of the desert. This man who thought he could deliver Israel singlehandedly by his own devices had to be hidden, tending sheep for year after year. In Gideon’s days, the Midianites oppressed Israel seven years, and finally Gideon was reduced to hiding in order to thresh out enough wheat to barely get by.

They both started slow in their walk of faith. “But…but…but.” My life is mirrored in that. For years I followed, trusted, relied on, obeyed God in some ways. I said, “But this, but that,” in many others. I started slow. There is comfort in knowing the stories of Moses and Gideon.

But now their names resonate as God’s heroes of faith, rich with implication, full of years and meaning. Gideon, according to the end of Judges 8, may have fallen short of his revelation as a hero. But he is still given a mention in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. How did Moses and Gideon jump from Alpha to Omega?

It was a process, yes. But the main attitude I see in them as they grow in faith is a blossoming disregard of circumstance for the solidity of Promise. God said it. I believe it, and I’m stepping out on the Word spoken. I say, “Whatever the circumstance, and my human perception of it, it can all go to hell if it contradicts the Word; God has spoken.”

Why did God use Moses and Gideon? Why did He persevere with men who argued with Him? They knew they were weak, helpless, unable. And only such men, hammered in the furnace of affliction, can give God the full credit. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” saith the Lord.

Only in the knowledge of our weakness are we safe with God’s empowering.

So I see myself in Moses, and Gideon. I’ve wrestled, and sometimes still do. But I have a settled knowledge of my total weakness, my inability to be and do anything apart from God’s imparted, indwelling Divine Life in Christ.

And yet, “He is able, He is able, He is willing, doubt no more.” I’m to move from weakness to Strength. My ability or my upbringing or my circumstances never have to be the deciding factors. That makes me look forward to a future lit up with a sunrise of potential and possibility, of peril and rescue, of fathering and husbanding, of people and music, of intercession, of faithfully borne sorrows free of self-pity.

It is the sword of the Lord – and of Gideon – slicing through demonic lies, fears, oppression, and bondage to free captives after the clay jar is broken, revealing the Light that conquers and sets foes to flight.

Obedience has become just another word for trust.

Winner of 147 Grammys (or so), Ron Block is the banjo-ninja portion of Alison Kraus and Union Station. When he's not laying down a bluegrass-style martial-arts whoopin' on audiences around the world, he's taking care of his donkey named "Trash" and keeping himself busy by being one of the most well-read and thoughtful people we know.


11 Comments

  1. Steve

    Excellent! And, it seems to me, that “trust” is the word at the very heart of the good news. I no longer have to trust my feable and failing self. I have a Father whose everlasting arms are my security. I live in a world bathed in His goodness and built to show me such. I follow a true and faithful Elder Brother who radiates the Father’s love and encourages my emulation.

  2. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Steve, yes. And we have an indwelling Power that created the universe; in Christ everything that God is lives in human form, and so we are in Him, and He in us. That is our Source; that is why we can live and not be “weary of well-doing”; we’ll certainly be weary if the pressure is on us to perform good and love others and forgive and not sin and live fruitful lives (think how depressing that sounds if we have to perform it in and of our human selves!).

    The Christ-ian is God-indwelt. That’s power, more than we could ever ask for or imagine – and it’s already ours. We have everything we need, right here, right now, for life and godliness.

  3. Steve

    Ron, thanks for that. You are playing the part of George MacDonald in my own little “Great Divorce”. “You’ll not forget that part.” 🙂

  4. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Steve – I’m passionate about that because I lived without power for so long – in the “I’m a sinner saved by grace” mentality, sucking up forgiveness like a baby from a bottle and never really growing at an exponential rate like every baby-child-youth should. How could I? I was constantly believing “I can’t,” which of course is true but it has to turn into “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Walking in victory as a daily experience is a far cry from where I used to be.

  5. paulh

    Ron, your writing/teaching has been so rich with revelation for me this past week or so. I too, have been stuck in own spiritual feebleness, and taking steps to losing myself over to His Power and Strength.

  6. kevin

    I realize how offensive it is for many Christians, but it is the most encouraging thing in the world that God is totally in control, and I mean totally.

    Really, look at Moses, look at Gideon, look at almost everybody in the Bible. It’s filled with the biggest screw-ups that have ever lived. Yet, dudes like Samson made it to the hall of faith. Not because of their inner coolness that God recognized, but because He WILL accomplish His plan, and in His mercy He allows His kids to play a part.

    That’s beautiful, and as Arturo Azurdia III says “God’s sovereignty is a soft pillow for a weary head.”.

    Now a little devil’s advocate: Moses had a burning bush Gideon had a face-to-face with an angel.

    What about us? How do we reach certainty God has spoken concerning a matter?

  7. D'Anna Yastrebov

    Thank you so much! I, too, feel like God is moving me out of infancy and into young adulthood faith – I’m slowly stopping all the “look what I learned/did/said” – the teenage years of questioning everything (mostly myself) and moving into, “I really want to listen to and learn from my Father – He’s pretty cool! ” HA!

    Thank you for the Words – sounds like Truth! ; )

  8. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Kevin: First of all, the Word. It is the only reliable indicator of Reality. Circumstances shift and change, people around us shift and change, our feelings ebb and flow with circumstance, but the Word of the Lord endures forever. That’s stability. When we grab the Word, and really faithe in it, God acts. Faith is to believe it and then take action. We eat the promise and step out on it in trust. We can do this with any aspect of our lives: Finances, our marriages, our kids, our jobs, our future. The Word is full of promises; we have only to walk the length and breadth of the Land to claim it as ours; we put legs to our head-belief and start walking in faith.

    God being sovereign and working all things together for good to those who love God is another way He speaks. We can know that whatever happens in our lives is on a divine timetable, and if we trust in God’s love and sovereignty He will work it all out for the good of the Kingdom (which, of course, is for our ultimate good).

    And God speaks by an inner knowing. I have had three such knowings in my life which concerned major things. I knew as a teenager I was supposed to play music; I knew when I met my wife that she was the girl I was to marry; I knew when it was time to move to Nashville. That my want coincided with my will in all three cases is irrelevant; there was a deep inner knowing. I had just refused to move to Nashville with the band I was in the year before, and quit the band. Then that knowing came up, and I moved.

    The thing that will drive our knowing that God is speaking is a close relationship with Him. He, of course, is able to get His point across without us being in close contact. But maintaining a daily fellowship with God, being honest with Him, studying the Word – these are foundational in determining God’s big-picture will for our lives.

    And George MacDonald would add that the will of God is to do the thing that is put in front of us. Quite often that means doing the thing we don’t feel like doing.

  9. kevin

    Ron- Amen to all that. Sometimes the Scriptures speak directly to an issue, sometimes we just know, and, I think, sometimes you just don’t get a clear push one way or another. It is then I rest in His sovereign control over the thing. It’s easy to get hooked on one aspect and avoid the other, but I think you’re right about the nearness to Him being key.

    The MacDonald thing reminds of the Experiencing God study by Blackaby and King. The one big thing tattooed on my brain about finding God’s will was- look to see where God is moving, and go get in on it.

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